David Morgan, people watcher, on ... the X Factor hecklers
Bequiffed stand-up and new LiF blogger David Morgan sits in at the O2 Arena judging complete strangers, so you don't have to ...
Contrary to many of my peers in stand-up comedy, I adore reality TV. Talent shows, swapping shows, judge-your-peers shows and even constructed reality are my go-to telly when I don't want to have to follow a plot too closely. So I thought it might be a joy to join the herds of humans heading to the live X Factor auditions.
It was, but not for the auditionees.
I went with a group of similarly minded friends and we joined the queue at London's very own Pleasure Island, the O2 Arena. We stood whilst the production team took shots of us queueing pretending that we were off to audition before we took our seats. It was then that I realised I had hit the jackpot.
"Oooooh, you smell all minty," said someone behind me. "Oh, I'm supposed to smell all lemony," someone else replied. Huzzah, I already knew that their commentary on today's proceedings was going to be, in X Factor parlance, 110% more entertaining than the panel's.
I was desperate to look around and see what my Essex version of Statler and Waldorf looked like, but I resisted and just imagined instead. The reality could never match the fantasy, especially as when one wannabe announced that their musical icon was Whitney Houston, Statler announced, "Ahhh, he likes Whitney. That's a shame. She's dead." No face could fit that monster.
An entrant from China came on to the stage, to a gleeful Waldorf: "Oooh, this'll be fun, he's a foreign." Someone on their row tutted at this – I panicked she'd stop talking, but I needn't have worried. The Chinese entrant told us that he was over here learning English, he was obviously not far into his course but still spoke English 120% better than I spoke Mandarin. Waldorf was obviously not as impressed with his grasp of it, "OH MY GOD, look at him. He's supposed to have learnt English, that is the funniest thing I have ever seen." She then did a voice that was so racist I might get arrested even describing it. I imagine she was doing "the eyes". I didn't look, but I did hear fingers move, honest.
There then followed a parade of adequate singers much to the distaste of S&W, who shouted in unison "WE WANT MORE FREAKS," and chuntered to each other. "I want a funny one, like that foreign one," said one, "Yeah, someone should come out in clown shoes," barked the other. Talent was boring them.
One of the okay singers reminded judge Nicole Scherzinger of Dolly Parton. Tulisa remarked, "Yeah, she's had a couple of big hits", Waldorf heckled back shouting, "You mean she's got a couple of bigguns." Statler, oblivious to the rules of the double entendre, yelled, "Yeah, she's got massive tits". Wonderful.
Their heckles were getting more and more frequent, when a contestant boasted about being able to speak four languages – French, German and Spanish – Waldorf bawled "You might be good at languages, but you're shit at maths, that's only THREE." Oh my.
Sadly the length of the audition record was obviously too long for them and they left well before the end. I was disappointed, I really wanted to see what they had to say about the last few contenders. After they had gone I came to the horrifying realisation that while I'm mocking their awfulness in the flesh, had I read what they had said on Twitter, I'd probably have retweeted it. I then felt guilty for the rest of the day.
Whilst the two ladies may have shown me the worst of the audience, I think we did pretty well. At one point in the judging, Scherzinger sang her response to an applicant, and the entire O2 groaned, without pause for thought. It was so obvious that straight after we all did a little guilty giggle. It was amazing and will no doubt not make the edit.
David Morgan, people watcher, will return next month